Being not a native English-speaker and not familiar with the dialects of the English language, especially the British ones, I'm wondering about an interesting fact for a long time. A British music group, The Prodigy, has released a single Breathe, and there is a lyrics line in the song: "Come play my game". Knowing the English language, I'd read this as [kʌm pleɪ maɪ ɡeɪm], but it's pronounced by the vocalist like [kɒm plaɪ mɔɪ gaɪm] (or something very similar). Another their single Firestarter features lyrics "I'm the pain you tasted" is sang like [aɪm ðə paɪn jə taɪstɪd].

I know that the band is from Essex and the Essex dialect exists, but I really couldn't find much information on it and I'm not really sure if it's true. I've also came across a mention that it also might be relevant to "the Southern English dialect spoken by chavs in London" (found at a non-English lingvo-forum), and I don't know if it's true as well.

What dialect such pronunciation is characteristic of?

  • 1
    It would be helpful if you could link to the song, preferably a YouTube link. :)
    – NVZ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 12:39
  • @NVZ as their music videos may be controversial, I'd like to put the links as comments: Breathe and Firestarter. There are some few words spoken a bit differently: [ɪnˈtɒksɪkaɪtɪd] for "intoxicated" and [dɛtənaɪtə] for "detonator". Sep 4, 2016 at 12:49
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    So the question is: which dialects have vowel changes that are something like /ʌ/ → /ɐ/, /eɪ/ → /æɪ/, and /aɪ/ → /ɔɪ/. My guess: lots of them. Sep 4, 2016 at 13:16
  • @LyubomyrShaydariv those videos are helpful regarding your question and I think those links and you last comment belong in the question body. If it's relevant people can even post question content with offensive language which seems a strong precedent for allowing links to a few lively dance videos - not that they are offensive anyway. They bring some freshness and dare I say fun.
    – k1eran
    Sep 4, 2016 at 17:16
  • I think they way Keith Flint sings the "Come play my game" line etc., is at least as much influenced by John Lydon's (amazing) idiosyncratic singing voice as Keith own accent.
    – k1eran
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


I'm not a linguist, but I come from the South East of England. This way of talking is now commonly described as Estuary English.

  • That's interesting, thank you! I've just read a bit about Estuary English on Wikipedia, but, to me, it's really hard to compare and match the pronunciation changes. May I ask you? If you'd listen to their, let's say, interviews on YouTube (for example, where Keith Flint was interviewed), would you really confirm that they speak Estuary English? The reason of why I'm asking for it is that I, being not a native speaker, really can't hear even probably significant differences. Sep 9, 2016 at 13:21
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    From the Wikipedia page: "All of its [EE's] features can be located on a sociolinguistic and geographical continuum between RP and Cockney, and are spreading not because Estuary English is a coherent and identifiable influence, but because the features represent neither the standard nor the extreme non-standard poles of the continuum". At the RP end is the Queen and old fashioned BBC presenters - a "posh" accent, Cockney is/was a more working class accent. On a scale of 1 (RP) to 10 (Cockney), Keith Flint sounds like about a 6 when he's talking, but a 7 or 8 on Firestarter.
    – JonLarby
    Sep 12, 2016 at 7:58
  • Wow, that's very and very interesting and it's very nice to have the scale you provided since it's very easy to understand. Thank you! Sep 12, 2016 at 8:14

There is a difference between dialect and accent. Dialects have different words for the same concepts, and sometimes different grammatical structures from each other. For instance the speakers of US dialects (there are several) talk about the 'hood' and 'fenders' of a vehicle while the speakers of British dialects (including Standard English) talk about the 'bonnet' and the 'bumpers'. Similarly many Americans will use 'gotten' as the past tense of 'to get', whereas it hasn't been used in British English for a very long time.

Accents, however, are different ways of pronouncing words. It is perfectly possible to use Standard English (whatever that means) but to speak in a regional accent, people do it all the time. For instance most british politicians speak the same dialect but have many different accents. What the OP is talking about is an accent. Whether that is an Estuary English accent, an Essex accent (and if so which one) or a 'Revolutionary Punk' (John Lydon?) accent I leave others to judge.

  • That's interesting, thank you. I used to interpret such differences as a dialect, because dialects in my first language seem to reflect the accent too, not apart. And I believed that pronounciation is the key to find the origins. Oct 15, 2016 at 9:07
  • @LyubomyrShaydariv Many dialects are associated with specific accents and there are dialects which are not spoken by people with the 'wrong' accent. Using Tyneside dialect when you don't have a Tyneside accent for instance would be very strange. However a lot of Tynesiders happily speak a more standard dialect as well as their own.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 15, 2016 at 12:29

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